Class of '86
December 1998

Hello class of 1986!

Remember us? We are your delinquent class agents—Melinda and Dan. We have been sooooo busy rebuilding Gustavus brick by brick after the devastating tornado on March 29th of this year that we have not had time to write a class letter. Of course we are totally full of crap. Dan decided this was a good year to get married and Melinda has no excuse beyond the rigors of raising three kids…

If you haven’t heard, the spire on the chapel was rebuilt and resurrected in October. This event marks the official end to repairing the existing campus buildings. Phase II now represents new construction on campus to replace lost housing and academic buildings. As you can imagine, alumni support is particularly crucial this year.

Along those lines, many of you noticed that the typical Phonorama call never arrived this fall. There’s a good reason…With the dramatic need for financial help this year, Phonorama was changed to meet the new needs of the college. If you did not get called during the weeks of Phonorama or if you get a call from an unfamiliar voice, it was not because we did not want to talk to you. Because of the profound concern and interest expressed by alumni in the wake of the tornado, it was determined that student callers could give better first-hand accounts of life at Gustavus after the storm. The class of 1986 has historically been one of the most generous (for their decade) in alumni giving, and we hope this tradition continues during this most important time.

Dan stayed up all night putting together this class news for you:

Campus News:

The 1998-99 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,470 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,389 set in 1988), including a record 700 incoming students (compared to 648 of 1987). Contributing to the record enrollment is the stable 94 percent full-time student retention rate. Students returned to a campus that has been newly landscaped with 400 trees planted last spring and nurtured over the summer. They also discovered that 95% of all repairs made necessary by the tornado of March 29 are now completed. They returned to find Johnson Hall gone as it proved to be "beyond repair," but they also were greeted by a new College View Apartment addition, which houses 92 upper-class students, and the recently purchased Jefferson Avenue apartments (now known as Arbor View), which houses 60 upper-class students. In addition to new carpeting, painting, and furnishings, the campus is sporting 300 new state of the art computers for students and faculty, 28 new Steinway pianos (making us a member of a very elite circle of "All Steinway" campuses), 13 new high-tech multimedia systems for classrooms, new and upgraded outdoor and indoor athletic facilities, and new scientific equipment.

The Prairie View Residence Hall, which opened in October, houses 60 students. It is located west of Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Physically and symbolically the repair/restoration era will end with the placement of the spire and the cross back on the top of Christ Chapel. The spire went up in sections over a two-day period with the cross set on Thursday, October 22.

Students also noted the beginning stages of construction on the new Campus Center. This project, part of our strategic plan, was accelerated by the storm. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday, October 19. This $18.6 million, 51,000 square foot construction project will double the size of the Dining Service Building (is that a good thing?), providing students, faculty and staff with expanded and improved dining, meeting and office spaces. The Dining Room will, appropriately, be named for Evelyn Young ’33, longtime director of the Dining Service at Gustavus. In progress also is an addition to the Melva Lind Interpretive Center to house the Department of Environmental Studies.

National Rankings

US News and World Report continues to give Gustavus high ranking. This fall’s issue again placed Gustavus in the top half of the 162 national liberal arts colleges in the country. Gustavus is one of four colleges in Minnesota to be in this category. The others are Carleton, Macalester and St. Olaf. The other ELCA schools in addition to Gustavus and St. Olaf are Gettysburg, Muhlenberg and Augustana (IL). Many of the schools with which you are familiar are classified as either a "national" or a "regional" college. National liberal arts colleges have the most selective admission policy, recruit nationally and offer most of their degrees in the liberal arts. Regional liberal arts colleges are less selective in admitting students and grant fewer than 40% of their degrees in the liberal arts.

US News further honored Gustavus by ranking the College third nationally (out of 90 schools) in operating efficiency. This ranking measures academic quality and dollars spent to deliver that quality. Gustavus was the only Minnesota college ranked in this comparison of national liberal arts colleges.

Newsweek magazine’s college publication again listed Gustavus as a "buried treasure." These are colleges that are known as "Hot Schools, Cool Spots." The magazine describes Gustavus as a place where "Personal attention rules—can’t slide by here." Other buried treasures include: Davidson College, Davidson, NC; Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA; Pomona College, Claremont, CA; Trinity University, San Antonio, TX; and College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Good company, indeed.

Children of alumni continue to be honored for their academic achievement and potential when they enroll at Gustavus. The Alumni Scholarship of $2,500 (renewable to $10,000 over four years) is awarded to children and grandchildren of alumni with high school grade point averages of 3.5 or better, or SAT scores of 1170 or an ACT of 26. This fall Gustavus welcomed to campus 70 new entering students who are children of alumni. Sixty-seven legacy students were awarded an Alumni Scholarship. This number includes 54 children of alumni and 13 grandchildren of alumni.

Nobel Conference XXXIV, Virus: The Human Connection was October 6 & 7. The Nobel Conference magazine was again inserted in the August Minnesota Monthly magazine and sent to the entire Gustavus mailing list.

Christmas in Christ Chapel was December 4, 5 & 6. The theme this year was The Holy Family.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, was a huge success for another year. Alumni, parents and friends gathered on Saturday, October 3 to work together in the spirit of service to better their communities. An impact was made around the country as nearly 1,000 Gusties worked in nine cities including: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Duluth, MN; Fargo, ND; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Orlando, FL; Saint Peter, MN; Seattle, WA and Washington, DC. A special thanks to Sara Freeman Rekow who organized and supervised a group of 86ers at the Hope Community Living Center

Recycle your Quarterly— after reading each issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we encourage you to "recycle" the magazine by taking it to your place of business or worship and sharing it with others. Spread the good word about Gustavus!

Alumni Chapters will be meeting in cities around the country near you! Mark your calendars today for the following Alumni Association chapter visits: Denver, February 1 (Gustavus Band concert); Fargo, Feb. 20; Seattle, March 5; San Francisco, March 6; Los Angeles, March 7; Phoenix, March 8; and Sun City, March 9.

Class News:

We do have some class news to share as well. We apologize that some of this news may be somewhat old, but better late than never. Just consider these as belated congratulations.

  • Lynda Severson Belgum had a bouncing baby boy, Mark Thomas, last spring.
  • Andrea Lundgren Holsten’s son, Joshua Albert, will be celebrating his two-year birthday this December.
  • Lee Houserman Holmes is a physician at Cherry Point Naval Hospital in North Carolina.
  • Susan King Christenson welcomed daughter, Solveig Grace, March 4th.
  • Bill and Shawn (Baker) Jansen celebrated their son, Phillip Raymond’s, first birthday on September 26th. Bill is program coordinator of Pine Habilitation and Supported Employment.
  • Chris Sasik maintains a prosthodontic specialty practice in Wayzata, MN and teaches part-time at the University of Minnesota Dental School.
  • Jay Lammers is a senior programmer/analyst for Lutheran Brotherhood.
  • Kristy Peterson Bjerk celebrated her son, Andrew Sather’s, first birthday in October.
  • Kelli Koob completed the Master of library and information science program at Dominican University in Chicago in August of 1997. She is now employed as a reference librarian at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.
  • Jeff Elder continues to be an emergency medicine physician at North Memorial Medical Center. Jeff’s son, Zachary, celebrated his first birthday last spring.
  • Cindy Herbst Ripple celebrated the first birthday of her daughter, Marissa in June.
  • Michelle Kronabetter Nord welcomed daughter, Annika Marie, last December.
  • Steve Weimerskirch is currently working for Connect Computer as a senior consultant.
  • Joleen Vohler Heatherly has two new daughters, Andrea and Rachel born a year apart.
  • Lora Hendrickson Conroy has been promoted to director of human resources at Macalester College. We forgive you Lora, for being a traitor.
  • David Schmidt continues to provide financial advice to BMW in Munich, Germany, and manages more than $3.00 in the EMTN programme.
  • Timothy Rost is working as reliability manager for Texas Instruments in semiconductors.
  • Kathy Larson Bergquist and husband, Tom ’83, celebrated the first birthday of daughter, Nicole, in May.
  • Greg Nelson and wife, Kathy (Lind ’89) welcomed son, Kevin Robert, in February. Greg is an instructor of engineering, physics and computer science at Anoka Ramsey Community College.
  • Joy Swenson Blackstad and husband, Peter ’85, have three children. Their youngest, David Dean, will celebrate his second birthday next month.
  • Dan Kelly is with US Bank as Manager of New Business Group of Institutional Financial Services.
  • Dan Murray married Linda Thiery on May 9th, 1998 in Brainerd, MN. Yee Ha! Go Moose Lodge!!
  • Melinda Moen Batz continues to split her time between her three children and the good hands people of Allstate.

Please continue to keep us updated with new information. We do have a website at If you haven’t seen the dramatic photos of the tornado, be sure to visit the website. We will try to update information there periodically. A special thanks to Scotty Shekels for providing our class with a free web site! Have a great holiday season!

In Gustie spirit,

Dan and Melinda

1986 Co-class Agents